Inspired Ideas
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Inspired Ideas

Being a Culturally Responsive Sustaining Educator During the Holiday Season

By Yaritza Villalba, Assistant Principal

Overall, the goal is to cultivate a space where all learners feel a sense of being.

Create a space where families can visit and know their child’s teacher has high expectations for all, regardless of what their test scores might suggest. In an ideal world, this is what every school is providing. The reality is, schools are struggling to provide opportunities for academic success for all learners, especially in the inner cities, because we are failing the number one rule: getting to know each of our learners. This takes me back to the point of this article. Not every student celebrates holidays like Christmas, and if they do, not every student has the at-home support (family, resources) to celebrate holidays.

This sense of meaningful planning that we used to create differentiated curriculum must also be used when providing opportunities for students to build and sustain community.

In a diverse school community, where all stakeholders are serious about equity, you would notice the importance of inclusion throughout the entire school year. Not every student celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, but every student celebrates events that are near and dear to their culture and family. Schools can provide these opportunities by creating a space for student choice and amplifying student voice. By encouraging students to share more about themselves throughout the year, schools can have a better understanding of what their families celebrate and if they may need extra assistance throughout the holiday season. It isn’t about teaching discipline through naughty elves on shelves or decorating ornaments that most students will not take home because they don’t have Christmas trees or have a need for them during the holiday season. It is all about inclusion and accepting diversity and differences throughout the school year, which helps students charter their own holiday committees to enrich school communities of life beyond a predominantly homogenous setting.

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